Offset Mate

The Opportunity Statement

How might we improve consumer confidence and encourage individuals to purchase carbon offsets at a point of sale to counter their emissions?

The Problem

Online shopping has changed consumer behaviour, and the freight industry has rapidly expanded to meet this higher demand. Relying heavily on fossil fuels for operation, freight is a key contributor to global carbon emissions, representing 10% of emissions globally with a projected 4x increase by 2050.

As a complex system of linked services and supply chains, freight is perceived as one of the most difficult industries to de-carbonise. This makes it a perfect candidate for consumer-driven carbon offsetting.

Developing a solution to facilitate the offsetting of freight delivery means identifying common barriers for consumers purchasing credits and turning them into opportunities. By simplifying a diverse and complex space, establishing consumer trust and presenting engaging options at the point of online sale, there is an opportunity to offset freight emissions across online retail, gobally.

The Solution

Purchase credits from preferred suppliers with one click

The browser extension is activated at the point of sale, recommending a credit amount specific to the delivery. With a personalised portfolio of projects already selected and payment details set up, emissions can be offset with just one click.

Positive outcomes to foster behaviour change

Updates on carbon offsetting project outcomes will be shared with end users to encourage behaviour change.

Offset mate is a browser extension that alerts shoppers when they are purchasing goods online that require an emissions-intensive delivery.

Once installed, OffsetMate will listen for indicative delivery details, such as distance to travel and package weight (freight cost). A pop up activates at the right time to offer offset options. Understanding that consumers should be encouraged to shop locally, the extension also recommends less carbon-intensive alternatives (e.g. second-hand products via a local seller on eBay.)

With one click, consumers can purchase a recommended or optional amount of credits from a personalised, localised portfolio of projects. These are selected during the onboarding process, where consumers indicate their location, payment details and the types of co-benefits they are most passionate about.

They watch the progress of their projects as a simplified dashboard, featuring '’feel good' updates. By harnessing the power of social media, consumers can share this narrative of progress within their networks to further drive engagement and promote behavioral change.

The Impact

OffsetMate tackles the complex issue of carbon emissions in the freight industry by empowering consumers to quickly and easily support local initiatives at the Point of Sale. By focusing on consumers, rather than a specific industry, the solution encourages consumers to be more aware of the impact of their behaviour. The 'feel good' effect consumers gain by contributing to meaningful, co-beneficial programs on an ongoing basis will add to this - helping to embed offsetting as part of their standard purchase process.

Furthermore, the solution can be used across the whole of online retail - expanding the scope of potential impact and uptake of credits across credible programs. If 200,000 consumers contributed $200 per year to offset their purchase deliveries, 5m tonnes of emissions could be offset per year (based on an 'average' credit price of $16 per credit per tonne.) This represents ~3.4% of total Australian emissions. It’s easy to see how significant the impact of this could be over time.

Solution Architecture

Using proven Azure technologies to centralise data to surface Carbon Offset Programs to consumers.

App Service: Use to expose API services for user information and carbon offset programs

Azure Storage: Easily host a single page app prototype built in React.

Azure SQL: Migrate current carbon offset programs to create meaningful information and provide a relationship between consumer data

Azure Event Grid*: Allow event based notifications of program “milestones” that will notify consumers about the programs they are involved in.

*Handle events triggered in the Azure Event Grid such as sending of sms or email.